4 Purchases I Thought Were Important But No Longer Miss

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What purchases have you made in the past that no longer feel important? Here are 4 things I've forgotten in an effort to save money every month.

Don’t you sometimes wish you could time-hop a few years back and tell yourself what to do with your life and finances? Like Don’t finance that pretty car that you’ll be tired of in six months or maybe even Don’t spend money on that trashy lower back tattoo that you’re going to regret, Robin!

We’ve all made money mistakes, and if we had the ability to step back in time, we’d certainly save ourselves a lot of anguish. Until someone invents a time machine, though, we’re stuck ruminating over what might have been, and I’m certainly no exception (and unfortunately I’m stuck with that tramp stamp decision from 13 years ago.) Here are four purchases I’ve bought that I thought were important at the time but no longer miss today.

#1 Beauty Products


I know that I’m female and I’m supposed to care a lot about how I look, but I’m breaking the rules. Now that I’m in my 30s, I’m becoming more comfortable with the way I look. It all started a couple of years ago when I was still working in an office. I forgot to put on my makeup one day and, although I panicked at the time, as I went through the day and realized that no one even noticed, I figured I could let myself have a break for a bit.

I haven’t worn makeup or used hair products on a regular basis since, and I haven’t looked back. My skin is clearer, my hair is healthier, my wallet is fatter and, best of all, my confidence is soaring. I feel like I’ve given the middle finger to the entire beauty industry, and it’s surprisingly liberating. (You should try it!)

#2 Pricey Salon Visits


I also no longer pay $120+ for a cut and color every six weeks, even though that’s the norm for a lot of women, because I’ve discovered I’m more interested in saving money on cutting my hair than splurging on it. As I was in the process of ditching my beauty product habit, I grew out my hair to its natural color, went a year without getting a cut, and then realized that I had somehow shockingly survived. (Who knew?!)

After that first year, I found a beauty school graduate who offered to come to my house to cut my hair for $15 so that she could gain some experience and new clientele. Two years later, she’s still cutting my hair on the cheap in the comfort of my own home while my preschooler plays in the next room. Score!!  That bottle blonde with the expensive (high maintenance) highlights from my wedding photos is gone for good.

#3 Disposable Products


I used to budget in money for so many disposable products from paper towels, paper plates and Kleenex to cotton balls, sandwich baggies and razors, but most of these expenses are needless in our budgets and terrible for the environment. There are better options that help the planet and help you save money every month.

Now that I’m a minimalist and trying to care for the environment, I’ve learned to either do without most of these or utilize reusable versions of them. If you do without them for a short period of time (such as not buying more of them when you run out), you get creative and figure out how to make do without these items. (I seriously get a lot of blank stares when someone asks me for a paper towel in my house and I tell them I don’t have any because I don’t use them.)

Instead of paper towels and napkins, I use rags and cloth napkins that can be easily washed with my next load of laundry. Instead of using sandwich baggies, I use reusable foldable baggies in my daughter’s lunch. Instead of using paper plates when we have an outdoor potluck, I use the real stuff and (brace yourself!) throw them in the dishwasher. I’ve made do without these things in my life, and you probably can, too.

What purchases have you made in the past that no longer feel important? Here are 4 things I've forgotten in an effort to save money every month.

#4 Commercial Household Cleaners


To further add to my desire to live a greener and more frugal life, I used up or got rid of all my toxic household cleaners and started cleaning with only natural products. I used to believe that I needed to buy harsh products to get the inside of my home as clean as possible, but after I had a baby, I found that I no longer wanted those synthetic scents and nasty chemicals in my house. It was simply a bonus that natural cleaners are so cheap.

Now I use vinegar and baking soda to clean most surfaces, from my bathroom to my kitchen, and I check Good Guide before buying any commercial products. My go-to brand is Method because their products are safe and pleasant to use, unlike the nauseating, headache-inducing smells of my previous bleach-laden cleaning products.

So many of our purchases seem so important at the time because we are used to spending our money in certain ways and it becomes our norm, but that’s not a great way to budget. Instead, try to live without something for a period of time, and decide if you can still live well without it. Scrutinize past spending habits and question everything you spend your money on to help you spend your money on those things that have the most value for you and your family.


Have you made a purchase in the past that you thought was crucial but no longer miss? Are there certain items or services you’ve learned to live without? What’s one new recent way you’re saving money every month?

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Robin McDaniel

Robin is a freelance writer who chronicles her financial missteps and victories on her blog


  • Hannah says:

    I use vinegar & baking soda too! I’ve never done it to save money, but I suppose over time it does. Reducing paper product usage is an impressive feat. We always use real plates but we haven’t switched to rags completely.

  • I subscribed to a beauty box and decided to not renew when it comes up for renewal around mid-June.

    I found myself not being very excited about the arrival of the box. I already paid annually (which is cheaper overall). Also I’ve become more minimalist with my make-up recently.

    I didn’t sent out to become a makeup minimalist, it just happened. lol.

    I do however subscribe to another box, it’s an art subscription and am very excited when I get that box.

    I love the art supplies and creating something new each month.

    Sometimes you grow out of something and that’s okay.

  • Kathy says:

    I don’t buy small waste can liners for the small ones in the bathroom. We re-use the plastic grocery bags instead. They fit perfectly. I haven’t worn make up every day for years now. Occasionally for a really nice evening out I’ll put on some foundation but that’s it. I once had so many different cleaning products but I’m whittling it down to just a couple I really like.

    • I’m the exact same way. I love the simplicity of only having a few cleaning products and not having to buy new makeup anymore. I only break it out for special occasions, like a wedding.

  • I’m with you on the hair cut! I used to live in a small town where I could pay $15 for a great cut. Now I live in a city and they charge crazy amounts! I found a no-frills salon that cuts my hair for $30, so that’s a steal for me.

    • I know, right? The small town I grew up in was so cheap as far as getting a cut. Then when I moved to the big city, I was all of a sudden paying $120 for a cut and highlights. That’s just insane.

      No more, though. 🙂

  • Tara says:

    Paper towels are one thing we should cut down on in our home as we have plenty of rags.

    Bleach is one thing we do have to use in the bathroom for the toilet bowl and the shower as by living in a humid environment and keeping the toilet seat down (our old house also lacks a bathroom ventilation fan… on the to-do list), mold grows in those places. Bleach is the only thing that kills that black mold that pops up in the shower in grout, so we’re stuck using it. But otherwise, I’m with you on the cleaners, especially in the kitchen.

    • We had to upgrade our ventilation fan and it really helps. Until you get one, crack a window during or after your shower (depending on how close you live to your neighbors, of course.) 🙂

      As for the paper towels, take what you have left, and keep them under the counter. When you have to reach for one, it’ll give you an extra second to think about what else you could use. Now I automatically grab for rags for messes. That’s how I got started.

  • I don’t spend a lot of money on anything really. I guess I could be considered a minimalist even though I am not so intentional about it, it just happens.

  • Great post! I have done the exact same thing as you with the beauty products and hair cuts. Makeup is minimal (when I even use it) and I never go to the salon (my mom cuts my hair). We use clippers to cut the guys’ hair at home. We also trim our dogs fur, rather than taking her to the groomer.

    I recently ran out of zip lock bags…and have been getting along just fine with reusable containers.

  • I’m in the process of cutting out beauty purchases altogether. I’ve already started making my own natural, cheap, and healthy beauty alternatives and it’s been great. Spending a lot of money on stuff that you wash off your face at the end of the day doesn’t make sense when you’re paying off debt. Because of these little changes, we’ve been able to save 54% of our income! 🙂

  • Nicole says:

    We got rid of paper plates once we had a dishwasher and I don’t miss them. We are also transitioning to natural cleaning products. I love vinegar!

  • Bonita Kale says:

    Must admit, I love all those cleaners that spray on things. But I do have a steam mop that uses water for floor cleaning.

    Cotton rags are great. For you who have little kids–put the rags in a low drawer, and train them to go for a rag when they spill something. (At first, you have to hold their hand and the rag together!). That way, no yelling, no complaining (from you) when the inevitable happens.

    Cloth napkins (cotton, not synthetic) work so much better than the paper ones. They don’t shred! For friend-and-family use, I don’t iron them at all. (I have good ones that I iron at Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter.)

    I stopped buying spice mixtures years ago. I have all the spices and can mix my own–without salt!

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